“From aguacate to zapote and so many in between, there’s a tantalizing array of fruits available in Mexico year round. If you come from a place where you rely on imported fruit for a good part of the year, it’s heavenly to have access to this heart-smart sweetness, often picked that same day.”

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Margret Hefner’s eBook Frutas y Verduras is almost ready. And what better way to introduce a book that takes the mystery out of the fruits and vegetables that you find in Mexican markets than eating some of those fruits and vegetables that you find in Mexican markets.

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The event was appropriately held at Aguamiel, appropriate because earlier in the week it had been named San Miguel’s favorite restaurant and no one I know uses Mexico’s lesser-known ingredients more than Aguamiel’s chef Gaby Green.

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When Margret Hefner isn’t trying to finish Frutas y Verduras, she’s a private chef and she shared kitchen duties with Gaby Green at the launch.

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There are 27 different fruits detailed in the book. At least five of them were used in the six course meal, including a delightful dessert that layered zapote negra, mamey and maracuya. Other chapters in the guide include greens, tubers, squash and vines, cactus, and herbs and aromatics.

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For each fruit and vegetable included in the book, you’ll find the indigenous, botanical, English and regional names. You’ll learn what each one tastes like and ideas on how and where to use it. The book tells you when and where each fruit and vegetable grows, how to identify and select them, store and prepare them, their nutritional values and their health benefits.

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Margret brought samples of many of the lesser known entries that we could see and smell and feel and touch so that dinner guests like my friend Therese could decide, for example, if hoja santa really smells like root beer.

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In the book, Margret says, “Certain fresh ingredients indigenous to Mexico – tomatillos, jicama, jalapeño, serrano and poblano chiles, even huitlacoche – may turn up in shops and on menus well north of its border. But there are still a great many of the regional ingredients that aren’t exported at all – some are rarely seen outside the region they grow in.”

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I’ve already learned a lot from the preview copy I have. For instance, the verdolaga soup I’m having at dinner tonight may lower my cholesterol (and does it need lowering). I think anyone who lives full or part time in Mexico and does any cooking should have a copy. And should consider taking a phone with a downloaded copy, every time they go to a Mexican market.

Frutas y Verdurous will be available in late April. To order your copy today, go to foodforhealthmexico.com.

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